Stateside Staff

ford, dash board, car
antefixus21/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The march of technology continues, bringing us closer to the day when owning your own car may be less important than on-demand transportation services.  And closer to the day when we expect our cars to be super-connected to just about everything.

Automakers are laying the groundwork for this new era, as seen in some  announcements this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For years, some Detroiters have raised animals that are usually associated with rural farms: chickens, goats, rabbits, and more.

Although it is technically illegal to keep livestock, residents of Detroit have been able to do so because of bureaucratic dysfunction. 

Now there is an effort, led in part by Detroit Councilman James Tate, to come up with a clear ordinance regarding what is and is not allowed within the city limits. 

Mitch Albom signing autographs in Taipei in 2010
Wikimedia user Shack / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The latest novel from Mitch Albom is a magical walk through much of the 20th century’s best music.

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto tells the story of a Spanish orphan who becomes the greatest guitar player anyone has heard. Through his life, he encounters some of the biggest names in 20th century music and changes lives with his musical talent.

Albom first made his mark here in Michigan as a sports columnist for The Detroit Free Press, a role he continues 30 years later.

  • Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month. Chad Livengood takes a look at the year ahead for DPS.
     
  • Mitch Albom joins us to discuss his latest book, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto.
flickr user Motown31 / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Public schools in Detroit are looking at a rough year ahead.

Debt payments for Detroit Public Schools are already the highest of any school district in the state, but things are going to get even more dire next month.

Chad Livengood of The Detroit News' Lansing Bureau tells us that DPS will owe $26 million every month through 2016 to pay back this year’s operating debts, as well as debts carried over from previous years.

opioids, prescription drugs, vicodin
Sharyn Morrow/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan has a growing problem with what's called "uncoordinated prescription opioid use," and it's putting hundreds of patients at risk.

“In Michigan we went from 81 deaths in 1999 to 519 deaths in 2013 from opioids,” said Marianne Udow-Phillips from the Center for Healthcare Research and Transformation.

A new report from CHRT finds that most opioids are used and prescribed appropriately, but a small number of patients receive numerous prescriptions from separate prescribers within a short period of time.

Book Covers courtesy of Library of Michigan

The Library of Michigan announced the 2016 Michigan Notable Books over the weekend. These 20 books are recognized as stories that prove "that some of the greatest stories are found in the Great Lakes State."

Here's that full list, with descriptions from the Michigan Notable Books team, and links to interviews with many of the winners from Stateside with Cynthia Canty.

  • The way civilians talk to veterans matters. But what about the way we talk about them? Jason Hale is a veteran of two wars, and he has a message for the media: we’re not all broken.
  • Ann Arbor-based writer Rebecca Scherm joins us to discuss “Unbecoming,” her first novel.
  • More than 20,000 youth around the country age out of foster care every year.
  • As newsrooms get smaller, and more people hop online for information, will the industry be able to reinvent itself and keep up with the times? Why should we care about the decline of newspapers in Michigan? We discuss the state of the newspaper industry
  • Everyone says a dog is a man’s best friend.
  • More economists are telling us that the gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing in America. Michigan State University economist Charles Ballard joined us to talk about this.
  • Emily St. John Mandel joins us in-studio to talk about her novel Station Eleven, set in post-apocalyptic Northern Michigan.
  • When we talk in Michigan about "food insecurity" and "food deserts," it's usually about Detroit, Flint and cities battling poverty.
Roots are one of Chef Young's favorite offerings this time of year
flickr user Ruth Hartnup

Alex Young is the James Beard Award-winning chef at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor and the founder of Cornman Farms in Dexter.

He’s cooked all over the world, and really loves fall and early winter in Michigan.

Anne Curzan
University of Michigan

It’s nearly the end of the year, and we’re seeing all sorts of end-of-the-year lists, including Word of the Year.

Anne Curzan is an English professor at the University of Michigan and co-host of That’s What They Say, and she joins us today to go over some of the words in the running for Word of the Year.

  • Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta join us to talk about what the legislature accomplished, what it didn’t get done, and of course the Courser-Gamrat distraction.

  • A major obstacle to buying a house is getting a mortgage. Anna Clark’s article for Next City claims redlining is alive, well and dangerous in Detroit.

Muslims hold a vigil in Royal Oak in response to attacks in Libya
Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

In the U.S., random attacks against Muslims – or people the attackers think look like Muslims – are on the rise. Michigan is not exempt.

In her recent article for The Islamic Monthly, Michigan public school teacher Zeinab Chami wonders why, 14 years after the most significant incident of violence in the name of Islam ever, we are now seeing more vitriolic comments against Islam – not fewer.

The article is called The Prayer of the American Muslim. That prayer: “Please, God, don’t let them be Muslim.”

Ian Freimuth/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Detroit is often called the comeback city by politicians and boosters. The central business district is recovering. But many of the neighborhoods are still struggling. There are a lot of empty houses. If they don’t sell, they’ll quickly become derelict, blighted, another problem.

A major obstacle to buying a house is getting a traditional mortgage.

Todd & Brad Reed Photography

If there was ever any doubt about the beauty of Michigan, the new book Michigan: Wednesdays in the Mitten will convince your out-of-state friends they need to visit.

Ranging from some of the state’s most pristine natural areas to images of downtown celebrations, the father and son team of Todd and Brad Reed capture it in their new book. 

"Michigan has a story to tell and we love to help tell that story," said Brad Reed.

  • Rick Pluta and Jake Neher join us to talk about new legislation heading to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk that would, among other things, put an end to straight-ticket voting in Michigan.
Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Legislation that would eliminate the straight-ticket voting option on Michigan ballots is headed to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk.

Rick Pluta, co-host of It’s Just Politics and the Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network, tells us that if signed, this legislation would have three effects:

Cobo Center Press Release

The Cobo Center has a new pair of big, electronic billboards. They’re part of Cobo’s $300 million renovation plan, and according to Daniel Howes, they’re wrapped up in an example of “stupid government writ large."

With modern, accurate maps, it's clear how Michigan came to be known as "the Mitten State"
Ryan Grimes

It’s not hard to see why Michigan is often referred to as “the Mitten State,” but it is a little more difficult to figure out when folks actually started calling it that.

Stateside production assistant Cass Adair tells us he became curious about Michigan’s nickname over a Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee.

  • The water crisis in Flint has caused the city's children to be poisoned by lead. But don't think the lead problem is confined to Flint. In his latest story for Bridge Magazine, Mike Wilkinson tells us lead remains an "irreversible scourge" in many areas across Michigan.
  • Lindsey Smith join us to talk about her upcoming documentary on the Flint water crisis, airing tomorrow. 
  • Auto dealerships are pretty firmly entrenched in our business landscape.
flickr user DryHundredFear / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The recent student protests at the University of Missouri drew the nation’s attention to the problems of racism and lack of diversity on college campuses.

Faculty diversity – or, more accurately, the lack thereof – is certainly a concern on campuses in Michigan, both public and private.

For example, at Michigan State University, 4.4% of faculty members are black. The University of Michigan’s main campus trails with only 3.3%.

  • If you do an Internet search for "Great Lakes permaculture" or "Midwest permaculture," you'll soon discover a thriving movement in Michigan. Nate Ayers sits down to explain permaculture design.
  • Michigan writer R.J. Fox joins us to talk about how an amusement park ride lead him to love in the Ukraine.
Andrew3000 / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

To quote actor-writer-comedian Steve Martin: "A day without sunshine is like, you know, night."

Old man winter officially knocks down the seasonal door at 11:48 p.m. next Monday, December 21. The good news is that the days will start to get longer. The bad news:  it will be three months before the days, once again, become longer than night. 

If you are one of those Michiganders whose mood slides downhill as we slide into winter, you've got plenty of company. And it's all tied into the relationship among light, mood and melatonin.

R.J. Fox reading from "Love and Vodka"
screenshot

One of life’s greatest gifts is its ability to surprise us.

How could R.J. Fox know that going on the E.T. ride in Hollywood would lead him to the woman he’d want to marry? And from there, in the name of love, on to her home country Ukraine?

That’s where Fox was surprised by scowling old babushka-wearing ladies, a farmer who nearly beat him up for trying to photograph his goat, future in-laws he hoped to impress, and vodka. Lots and lots of vodka.

Fox tells the story in his new memoir Love and Vodka: My Surreal Adventures in Ukraine.

Don Harrison/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The largest ski jump structure in the world is located, not in Bavaria, not in Switzerland, not even Scandinavia.

It's Ironwood's Copper Peak in the Upper Peninsula. At 469 feet, ski jumpers soar through the air at 65 miles per hour.

Copper Peak was built in 1970. The last ski flying competition happened there in 1994.

But, plans are afoot to renovate the ski jump for a September 2017 contest.

Downtown Detroit
flickr user Tim Wang / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Detroit’s exit from bankruptcy.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes sees a city on the mend, but with some heavy lifting ahead.

“I’m very impressed with the execution of the government under Mike Duggan and the City Council,” Howes says. He adds that the demonstrated stability in the police department and the business community’s continued resolve to stand by its investment in Detroit bode well for the city.

  • Today marks the one-year anniversary of Detroit's exit from bankruptcy. Daniel Howes sees a city on the mend, but with some heavy lifting ahead.
thehavananote.com

In the decades since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, there has been wide gulf – literally and figuratively – between those who stayed in Cuba and those who left.

Ruth Behar was one of the latter. She is a professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan. As an academic and a researcher, she was able to go back and forth to Cuba when so many others could not.

Twenty years ago, Behar edited Bridges to Cuba/Puentes a Cuba. It’s seen as a landmark anthology of Cuban voices, including the works of artists, writers and scholars on the island and in the diaspora.

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